Monday, October 1, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- Family Get Together and Guests

We had our annual family get together yesterday and today, and I'd been cooking up a storm. We're a large crowd, what with all the children and grand children, so lots of food had to be made. We split the food preparation work, and even so, I spent a LOT of time in the kitchen cooking everything that I was supposed to bring along.
I made everything gluten free, and tried to make it as frugal as possible by buying all my produce from the reduced rack as well as foraging other ingredients. 
The food was a huge hit, and even family members who are not such adventurous eaters loved the food, even the experimental wild foods recipes.

This is just SOME of the food I made and brought with me!

Here's the menu plan, what we served, as well as everything else I'll be serving for the rest of the week, to hopefully give you some frugal cooking inspiration.
Only the main meal of the day is being shared... because the rest isn't preplanned, and often is just leftovers.
Things may be changed up a bit, because depending on if/what I forage, and if I get some free past prime produce (which I have been getting more and more lately), I may change the menu to include those things as well.

Homemade vegetarian sushi rolls- made by popular request. I didn't have time to make it to the store to get smoked salmon, and didn't want to make mine with raw fish for certain reasons, so I looked into what I had available, and came up with a combination that may seem random at first, but was a real winner- sweet potato, raw purslane, and scallions. Was an absolute crowd pleaser, and I will definitely be making it that way again.
Tomato, chickpea, red pepper, olive salad with cilantro, garlic, and lemon.
Rainbow salad- I originally got this recipe from a friend, but I played around with it so much that she probably wouldn't recognize it as her own. Usually made with multicolored peppers, cucumbers, green beans, baby corn, and carrots and marinated in white sugar and white vinegar, I made mine with sticks of raw zucchini, carrots, green peppers, purslane (with thicker stems), pomegranates (that I picked myself), and thinly sliced onions, marinated it in a sauce of jaggery, honey, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, garlic, pepper, salt, poppy seeds, and scallions. Also a big hit. 

Beet and carrot salad- made with shredded boiled beets, sauted shredded carrots, fresh dill, honey, oil, garlic, and salt. Was devoured. Especially by my mother in law.
Chicken with cilantro (not made by me)
Stuffed squash- I had a good idea, the flavor was good. I stuffed these squash (whose name I don't know in English or Latin) with rice, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, garlic, pepper, and onion, and baked. The filling tasted great, but I should have peeled the squash- the peel was incredibly hard to chew, which made most people toss the squash and eat the filling. (Good thing I got the squash free!)

Chocolate mouse
(There were also some desserts with gluten, but I didn't pay attention to them because I didn't make or eat them.)

Chilled carrot soup- I made a variation of this recipe. I didn't have orange juice, so I used lemon juice and honey instead, and adjusted the amounts of the other seasonings to taste. I feel stupid saying again that it was a big hit, but it was. I received lots of compliments on it, so I'll be making it again for sure.
Tomato, chickpea, red pepper, olive salad with cilantro, garlic, and lemon.
Beet salad with Middle Eastern style spicing (paprika, cumin, garlic, cilantro)
Beef, barley, bean, and potato stew (I didn't have as it wasn't gluten free- I had some leftover chicken)
Grilled eggplant slices- Made on my cast iron griddle
Thai style stuffed hollyhock leaves- I know these look like stuffed grape leaves, but they're not! They are hollyhock leaves filled with ground meat and shredded carrot and sliced onions, seasoned with cilantro, ginger, garlic, and salt, then baked in homemade coconut milk. I served these with a thai style dipping sauce- peanut butter, honey, oil, lemon, soy sauce, cilantro, scallions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Though I wish there would have been leftovers, there wasn't even one left!

Peach, apple, and nectarine fruit compte.

Leftover day! Lots of leftovers from the get together!
Chicken salad
Sweet potatoes
Mini purslane vegan quiches in shredded potato crust
Beet salad

Dock and potato pizza- but I'll be making mine with vegan cheese sauce
Rainbow salad with sprouted lentils.

Red lentil dal
Curried mixed veggies (squash, purslane, sow thistle, whatever greens I have)
Passionfruit chutney

Cactus paddle gumbo with gizzards

We're having a guest who told me straight out that she doesn't like any vegetables, or anything "weird", so this meal will be rather untypical of me.
Plain white rice (possibly cooked in chicken broth and sprinkled with slivered almonds and craisins)
Honey garlic chicken wings
Mashed potatoes
Some vegetable (haven't decided yet what)

Hope you liked my menu plan!
When you have family get togethers, who is the one that does the cooking?

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